Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. To understand in more detail, read Hydroponics decoded (insert link to the article ‘Decoding Hydroponics). Let’s understand the Hydroponics systems.
If you’re looking to begin hydroponic gardening, there are many different types of hydroponics systems. There are multiple techniques you can use to get the nutrient solution to your plants based on your needs. Here are a few methods to help you choose the best one for your home.
Deepwater Culture (DWC) or the reservoir method, is the simplest method for growing hydroponic plants. In this method, the roots are suspended in a nutrient solution. An aquarium air pump oxygenates the nutrient solution, and keeps the roots from drowning.
Nutrient Film Technique
Nutrient Film Technique, also known as NFT is a type of system where a constant flow of nutrient solution runs over the plant’s roots. This solution is on a slight tilt so that the nutrient solution flows with the force of gravity.
In the aeroponics method, the roots are misted with a nutrient solution while they are suspended in the air. One method involves a fine spray nozzle to mist the roots while another method uses a pond fogger. AeroGarden is a commercialised aeroponics system that is an excellent entry point to aeroponics. It requires little setup and comes with great support to get you started.
Hydroponic Wick System is among the easiest and lowest costing systems of hydroponics. If you have a material that is surrounded by a growing medium, one end of the wick material placed in the nutrient solution and is then wicked to the roots of the plant. You can also suspend the bottom of your medium directly in the solution.
Ebb & Flow
An ebb & flow hydroponics system, also known as the flood and drain system, is another system for gardening with hydroponics. This system functions by flooding the growing area with the nutrient solution at defined intervals. The solution slowly drains back into the reservoir. The pump is timed so that your plants can get the desired supply of nutrients.
A hydroponic drip system is the simplest method. A drip system provides a slow feed of nutrient solution to the hydroponics medium. Use a slow draining medium, like Rockwool, coconut coir, or peat moss for growing your plants.
Hydroponics is for all types of growers. It allows you control over the variables that affect your plants’ growth. A hydroponic system can easily surpass a soil-based system in quality and amount of produce yielded. It may seem daunting with all the equipment and effort, but you just need to get the hang of the basics. Take small steps and be patient – you’ll see – your hydroponic system will flourish.